“Would you like fries with that?”
These are arguably the 6 most common words spoken in fast food restaurants around the world.
The same question is also responsible for a significant percentage of the 2 billion servings of fries consumed by Americans each year.
And, in turn, it nets the fast food industry hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
This is an example of cross-selling at its finest.
For a prime example in upselling, we look to the golden arches, and one of the most iconic concepts of all-time, “Supersizing.”
Though “supersizing” has since been discontinued, during its heyday, the upselling scheme was so successful that a new McDonald’s opened somewhere in the world every five hours (Britannica).
The point is, if cross-selling and upselling can deliver blockbuster revenues for a burger joint, imagine what they can do for your business.
Here are 6 helpful techniques in cross-selling and/or upselling that will boost your bottom line.
1. Don’t Be Pushy and Sales-y
I wasn’t lying when I said upselling and cross-selling will increase your business’s sales and revenue.
Both strategies involve peddling to clients that you already have in front of you. And, established customers are easier to sell to.
In fact, you’re 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer as opposed to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect (Hubspot).You're 60-70% more likely to sell to an existing customer as opposed to the 5-20% likelihood of selling to a new prospect. @hubspot Click To Tweet
However, that doesn’t mean you can force feed your customers. To find success, you have to use a certain level of finesse.
Consider the following scenario.
You walk up to the convenience store counter with a bottle of your favorite soft drink in hand.
As you check out, the cashier casually mentions, “Just so you know…those are buy 2 get 1 free right now.”
At the very least, the cashier’s statement makes you take pause.
Why? Because, the information comes across as helpful as opposed to pushy.
And, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey & Company).70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. @McKinsey Click To Tweet
In addition, you’re being shown how a supplementary purchase might add value to your experience.
So, teach. Don’t preach.
“Selling is all about pull, it’s never about push. The more you push, the more they will push back!” says worldwide sales authority, Sean McPheat of MTD Sales Training.
Educate your customers on what you have to offer them. Educational content makes consumers 131% more likely to buy (Conductor).
2. Actively Recommend
Fortunately, recommendations fall under the umbrella of educational content.
Plus, people like to know what their options are.
80% of Americans actually seek out recommendations when making a purchase of any kind (Business 2 Community).
So, don’t be shy about suggesting items that you feel will be of value to your customers.
Look at major players like Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify. They’ve built empires out of making recommendations to their audiences.
The key is to only recommend items and services that are relevant to their needs.
3. Keep Recommendations Limited
Recommendations can be a great sales strategy…if you don’t get carried away.
A smart salesperson wouldn’t unfold the store’s entire stock of jeans when the shopper only wants to see certain styles and sizes, right?
If you bombard your customers with too many choices, there’s a good chance you’ll overwhelm, confuse, or frustrate them.
So, make sure the products and services you recommend are relevant to their needs.
One of the reasons brands like Amazon, Spotify, and Netflix are so successful is because their recommendations are personalized.
78% of U.S. internet users say personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent (Instapage).78% of U.S. internet users say personally relevant content from brands increases their purchase intent. @Instapage Click To Tweet
However, the only way you will be able to deliver personalized service is by getting to know your customers on a deeper level.
So, take an interest in who they are and what they do. Ask them what their goals are.
Don’t just jump right to the sale. You have to know who you’re selling to first.
75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences (Accenture).75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name and purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences. @Accenture Click To Tweet
4. Justify Your Choices
You can give recommendations till you’re blue in the face.
Just because you make a relevant suggestion doesn’t mean you’ve closed the deal.
How you feel about a product won’t build your customer’s confidence, and rightfully so. They know you’re biased.
How their peers feel about your brand is what will have the biggest impact on their decision-making.
So, backup your propositions with a record of your previous success stories.
This is where testimonials, reviews, and user ratings come into play.
Customers spend 31% more with businesses who have good client testimonials (invesp).Customers spend 31% more with businesses who have good client testimonials. @invesp Click To Tweet
Furthermore, 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations (Search Engine Watch).
Amazon knows this cross-selling trick all too well.
When Amazon users make a purchase, other suggested items aren’t listed as “recommendations.” Instead, it says “Customers who bought this item also bought…”
My guess is that Amazon execs know that 9 in 10 buying decisions are made with the help of peer recommendations.
5. Try Bundling
We all know the old saying, “The more the merrier.”
Well, that’s probably the perfect phrase to describe bundling.
Though this strategy can be used for the purpose of cross-selling or upselling, the formal definition clarifies its purpose and benefits.
And, it will entice your customers to purchase by offering them more for their money and streamlining their experience.
“Bundling can serve to reduce the ‘pain of paying’ for consumers,” says Behavioral Science-Based Business Expert, Roger Dooley.
Bundling can serve to reduce the ‘pain of paying’ for consumers.
For example, if you own a sporting goods store, try selling tennis rackets, tennis balls, and sweatbands together, as opposed to selling them separately.
Instead of being overwhelmed by the idea of purchasing all 3 items separately, your customers will feel confident about making a single purchase that meets all of their needs.
Not only will this tactic increase the value per sale and reduce marketing costs, but the integrated offering will also be more attractive to your audience because they can get everything they want with minimum hassle.
6. Don’t Rush the Transaction
Studies show that one of the worst mistakes you can make is to rush your customers’ decision-making.
66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with a good customer experience (Forrester).66% of adults feel that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good customer experience. @Forrester Click To Tweet
So, let them take their time.
In many cases, the best idea is to introduce additional or more costly items after the customer has already made a selection.
Think of it this way…
How would you feel if a waiter forced you to listen to him recite the dessert menu and make a decision about ordering from it before you even chose your main course?
What cross selling and up selling strategies have worked for you? We’d love to see your feedback and suggestions in the comments!
Originally published Mar 06, 2012